Thursday, January 15, 2009

Desktop Linux - If it ain't broke don't fix it!

pclinuxos 2009 logo

Hobbyist attitude in Linux world is not always good. There is no hue and cry if a Microsoft release is delayed or a Mac OS is postponed for sometime. But it seems Linux is moving just too fast, and everyone including developers and users are running to catch up with the pace. And it creates a lot of problems - developers are busy in fitting the latest kernel and other packages to their distro, and users are awake looking at the repo to install the latest packages and newer kernels, at times even if the same is not required.

Thanks God, the two distros Mepis and PCLinuxOS (both are my favorites) are not after this rat-race. They would stick to the recent stable apps and well tested kernel. Of course, this approach results in slow release cycles. But I am happy at a slower and well-tested releases, than a hurried latest and greatest release. However, sometimes I also get carried away by the newer releases. Here is an example.

I have been using Linux for a decade and using PCLinuxOS since it's 0.92 release. I had installed PCLinuxOS 0.92 sometime in 2005 worked on it for quite a long period, and installed the much anticipated pclos 2007. But I had to distro-hop, when I sold off that desktop and brought home a low-cost notebook. Hopped a full circle across the much hyped distros but again came back to pclos - the venerable PCLinuxOS 2008 MiniME.

From the day MiniME 2008 was released, there has been a lot of development in Linux World, but PCLinuxOS development has been somewhat slowed down, only for good. But I was also too anxious to grab a PCLinuxOS 2009 iso. When its tr5 was released, I could not resist to pull in the packages such as the newer kernel 2.6.26.8, kde 3.5.10 and some updated apps from the testing repo. Of course, I had doubts whether it will break my system, but fortunately installation went fine and the system is working as before. I compared the performance of both the kernels - 2.6.22.15 and 2.6.26.8 on my notebook, but could not find any difference. However, kde 3.5.10 seemed more polished than its previous version, but no major difference.

Hence, as a long time Linux Desktop user I would suggest others not to create chaos if a certain distro release is delayed and not to always run after the latest releases. In short, if a particular release works for you, work on it don't work at it. Don't run after frequent updates.

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